KBC inaugurated its new trading room, located on Avenue du Port in Brussels, at the beginning of the month. There are currently 164 “dealer desks” where markets from all over the world are continuously monitored. Surprisingly, Skype telephony replaces virtually all phones.
“Previously, the trading room was much noisier”, explains Luc Gijsens, CEO of the International Markets Division of the KBC Group. The man will soon retire after a career of nearly 30 years with the bank. “Before, we worked mainly with telex and telephone, now everything is done via screens.” With the new trading room, the phone has been retired as traders now use chat tools and Skype. “It’s very reliable and cheaper.”
The decision to install the trading room at a new address is the result of the sale of the operations building at No. 12 Avenue du Port. The new room has 570 screens with specialised financial information and no fewer than 1,000 double power outlets and 20 kilometers of wiring.
The implementation of Skype is of course for financial reasons as trading rooms incur high costs. The salaries of traders are high, but in recent years other expenses have increased. Since the financial crisis of 2008, many people have been entrusted with monitoring the markets. “While before the proportion was 90% of traders for 10% of monitors, now it is 60/40,” says Luc Gijsens. A change in strategy that makes a new case such as that of Jérôme Kerviel (ex-trader at Société Générale) “theoretically and practically impossible”.